RIYADH: The protection of lives and the economy from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic tops Saudi Arabia’s priority list, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Friday.
The G20 Summit in Riyadh comes under exceptional circumstances, and the Kingdom has “faced the challenges of the pandemic with determination, and competence,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency as saying.
The Kingdom, Prince Farhan said, seeks to push policy solutions to address the epidemic, “and to work with international partners and organizations to achieve these solutions.”
Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, said joint efforts by the G20 to fight the disease had proved that through collaboration the world could overcome the health crisis.
Speaking at the International Media Center for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh, he pointed out that nations had rallied together with a village-like mentality to combat the outbreak.
He noted that the G20 had provided billions of dollars to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19, and added: “The lessons learned from this are that by working together, we can develop a vaccine faster and more effectively. We can develop protocols for how to deal with this pandemic.”
His comments came during a roundtable discussion — attended by UAE Minister of State, Reem Al-Hashimi — on how the G20 had reconnected the world.
Al-Hashimi said the pandemic had shown how much nations depended on each other. “The global challenges are not going to be solved by one nation no matter how strong. And any fragility in one part of the world is going to have a ripple effect everywhere else,” she added.
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Al-Hashimi said the challenge that 2020 has brought was very well-handled by the Kingdom “that was able to bring everybody together in such difficult and extraordinary circumstances.”
Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Saudi minister of commerce and acting media minister, said due to the pandemic the 2020 summit had become a meeting representing all nations.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, said: “The Kingdom has been proactive and supported global efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine and will be one of the first countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Speaking during a session titled “G20 Saudi Leadership: Challenges and Achievements,” Al-Rabeeah said: “Saudi Arabia has injected $500 million — $200 million of which is for international and regional organizations’ vaccine and drug development.”
“The G20 have injected $21 billion with the hope that people will not suffer from the pandemic.”